When I first took a photo class in junior year of high school, we were told to look up famous photographers and examine their work. Richard Avedon was first on the list, but of course. The man has a way with portraiture. All of the images are frozen in time, obviously, that’s the definition of a photo, but even so they have so much movement in them usually. That’s what I particularly liked about this image of the model Twiggy. Her face is still, but that hair looks as if it’s being washed around underwater. I never tire of looking at it. I would carry that photo in front of my face for all eternity if I was able, that’s how breathtaking I believe it is.
It’s more than the movement that gets me about Avedon, it’s his sense of shape. Everything in the frame has a purpose for creating one shape or another, or at least the impression of one. It makes each photo more than it actually is to me.
If I were to be photographed by anyone, I would demand Avedon. He may not make the most flattering portrayal of me, but it would still be beautiful in a way that’s so much more useful than physical beauty. Maybe interesting would be a better word. He would make me look interesting. People would want to examine me. Not out of beauty or disgust, just interest. His lighting can be either soft or hard, but more often I think it’s soft. You can always see the subject’s face real well, which is probably why it feels more intimate. Their eyes are always easy to spot, the lighting usually directs you to their eyes, and I think that’s important to the whole emotion of each photo. I think that’s why I enjoy his images so much.